Interview with President of Rolite Manufacturing
Recently I met with Ron Roberts, President of Rolite Manufacturing. Rolite is a roll forming manufacturer that
produces metal products of all shapes and sizes for large and small companies.
I toured their manufacturing facility and was amazed at how a compact roll of sheet metal can be stretched, cut, pounded, bent, stamped, shaped and sized into a variety of configurations.
Take a look at the video I uploaded to Youtube of all the different ways they can manufacture metal products.
Ron told me that every product they make must be made to have the right “Form, Fit and Function.”
- Form: the look of the product projects the presentation the inventor intends;
- Fit: the product meets all the requirements necessary; and
- Function: the product must work the way it was intended.
Here are few questions and answers from my interview with him:
Can you help inventors make prototypes to use as a sales prop?
Many times we’re able to work with the inventor and help figure out the manufacturing details. We can gear their idea to existing equipment and help them lower startup costs.
We help inventors in the process of manufacturing, we call it “engineering time” it’s kind of like a research and development of the product without actually stepping on the toes of the inventor.
Our goal is to have cheaper startup costs for the inventor. Truthfully, independent, individual inventors are a small percentage of our business. Typically they don’t have the financial wherewithal and know how to take it to the next level and we try to help them bridge the gap.
What are some of the biggest problems that inventors have that you are able to resolve?
We think outside the box, we have tooling and the presses that are capable of shaping and bending any piece of sheet metal into almost any position. We try to do it as simple as possible and we often design ways to make products inexpensively as possible.
We also work with other companies to make a product, for example we’ve recently made a metal product which needed an attachment combination of a piece of cloth material and small brass fittings which were produced by outside sources and attached by our company.
What can you do to make a salable product better than a company located overseas?
Others need to find a manufacturer overseas in places like China because of cheap labor. We can do it better than an overseas company because we can:
- Produce a high quality product (Assembly and manufacturing is done locally).
- Avoid Secondary and third operators.
- Provide a short response time to customers problems and queries.
- Take care of quality issues as soon as they happen. If you’re using somebody in China and there’s a problem they would say “maybe we’ll implement it on the next run” with us we fix it now.
- We deliver on time because there is not an ocean we have to ship across.
- If there’s a legal problem outside the USA what legal recourse do you really have?
What considerations do you take into account before making a product?
“What are the fixed costs? How much is it to make? Can it be sold for a profit at every level? If not we can’t make it.”
There are a five tiers of cost on any product:
- Distribution representative
- Final Customer cost
What steps do you take to preserve the rights of your clients?
“With us it is mum’s the word, we do our best to keep everything confidential. We have an in-house Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) which is fair and protects both the inventor and our company. If the inventor has their own NDA we will sign it if it is fair and reasonable.EA roll forming manufacturer, Rolite Manufacturing offers inexpensive aluminum angles in any shape (simple to complex), as well as other metal channels & steel grades. They also offer aluminum channels, metal rings, light gauge metal trim, steel angles, and steel channels, in any length with close tolerances. Their roll formers can develop many complex cross sections.